Monday, October 31, 2005

London Calling and Breakfast with Chris and Sara

Tomorrow I will be flying to London for the cotton conference at SOAS. I will be gone a week. I probably will not be posting anything during that time. When I get back I will have more on cotton in Central Asia and other stuff of interest.

In more local news I had breakfast with Chris and Sara this morning at the community center. They are Arivaca's newest residents. They also read this blog which makes them part of an international elite of a dozen highly intelligent and wonderful people. The community center served mesquite pancakes with prickly pear syrup. They tasted quite good.

Friday, October 28, 2005

More on Cotton in Central Asia

One thing that is apparent is that cotton production in Central Asia reached its peak in the 1980s. Total production in Central Asia and Azerbaijan has gone from over 3.2 million metric tons in 1980 to a little more than 1.7 million in 2004. Twenty five years ago this region accounted for almost a quarter of all the world's cotton. Today it only produces 7%. For Uzbekistan and Tajikistan there has not been much to replace it as a source of revenue. Uzbekistan now exports some wheat and Tajikistan has aluminium and hydro power. But, increasingly these two countries along with Kyrgyzstan have been exporting labor to Russia and Kazakhstan. There are now an estimated one million Tajik citizens currently working in Russia out of a total population of less than six and a half million people. The economies of Kazakhstan and Russia are currently doing very well in comparison to their southern neighbors as a result of the export of oil. It looks like migrant workers will replace cotton as Central Asia's most important export. This will not be the first time in history that such a shift has taken place.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Reading up on cotton in Central Asia

The first batch of papers and presentations for the cotton conference arrived today. It will take me a while to read through them. In fact I will probably spend most of today learning about the cultivation and marketing of cotton from Central Asia. I will report more when I have a better grasp of the issues involved.

It was a beautiful day again today

Sometimes a song harmonizes with its surroundings. Today on the radio I heard U2's "It's a Beautiful Day" and it expressed the mood perfectly. In the paradise of Arivaca everyday is warm and sunny even in late October.

I ran out of Italian dressing today. But, Arivaca Man is clever. I marinated the wings in a mixture of prickly pear glaze and hot sauce. It was most excellent. There are no meals that are not excellent in Arivaca.

Soon the Shack will be ready to entertain guests. My parents are coming to visit after I get back from London and Chris and Sarah should be here by then. The First Annual Grand Shack Feast will be an event to remember.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cotton Conference Update

I finally got a conference program and list of participants and guests. The organizer has promised the papers and presentations by the end of the week. Which is good since I have to fly out to London on Monday. It looks like I have 19 papers to read and critique this weekend. Unlike tenured professors who whinge about grading I am not getting paid over a $100,000 a year to do this. They are giving me room and board for a couple of days.

The conference is not in Brunei as I stated earlier. It is in room 116 on the 1st floor of the main building in Russell Square. I will be giving my paper on the second day of the conference, 4 November 2005 as part of a two person panel from 11:00 to 12:10. It is the panel just before lunch.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that out of 20 participants and 12 official guests that only three have positions at universities and this includes the two organizers. Most of the participants are connected with various NGOs. The presenters are evenly split between Central Asians and people from Europe and the US. Except for Turkmenistan there is at least one paper by a presenter from each of the Central Asian states. Among the other countries represented are the Netherlands, France and Italy.

Overall it looks like it will be a very interesting conference. I am the only historian presenting at the conference. The main thrust of the other papers is on the cotton economy in Central Asia today. There are papers on the marketing of cotton, labor rights, water management, privatization and soil erosion. I am interested in seeing what comes up regarding the connection between labor rights and fair trade. If there can be fair trade coffee then certainly there can be fair trade cotton. The conditions for cultivating cotton in Central Asia are as every bit as bad as what used to exist on coffee plantations.

Chicken Shack to add Hookah Lounge

Actually, the gazeebo already serves as a hookah lounge on account of having ventilation (no walls) and anti-fire devices such as a cement floor, a fire extinguisher and big buckets of water. But, now it is going to get an official sign. It will also I hope get a divan (ie beat up old couch) sometime soon. Today the UPS man delivered six boxes of tobacco for the lounge. We have apple, rose, mint, vanilla and banana now down at Otto's. The Shack has got that South West/Middle East fusion thing almost perfected.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I was going to attempt another mini-carnival of Diasporas today. However, tracking down appropriate posts and then getting them to link is really beyond my technical abilities. The last carnival only had four links and as of now I have found even fewer pieces to post for a second carnival. I will continue to write on various diasporas that interest me such as the various deported peoples of the USSR, but my limited internet skills make hosting future carnivals too difficult. If anybody else wishes to host the Carnival of Diasporas they are welcome to take the franchise. They can also link to any of my posts.

Monday, October 24, 2005

This Week

This week I need to get everything taken care of for my London trip. I have pretty much everything ready to go. I just need to make sure I get all the job applications with impending deadlines out before I leave. Then I need to pack and get to the airport. It will be great to see old friends in London again. If anybody reading this will be in London on the 3-4 of November, I will be giving a paper at SOAS on deported peoples and cotton in Central Asia in the 1940s. The conference is in Brunei Gallery across from the main campus at Russell Square.

I have never had this much money ever

My blog is worth $13,548.96.
How much is your blog worth?

Happiness is not there it is here

It seems odd that I am so happy living in my current situation while people much more fortunate than me are miserable. Logically it makes no sense. Certainly people with much more than me should be that much more satisfied with their lives, right? Tomorrow morning I will go meditate on this question with a cup of coffee on the cement block out west by the abandoned horse corrals.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

More Thoughts on Meskhetian Turks

I have been attempting to follow the resettlement of Meskhetian Turks from Krasnodar Krai in southern Russia to the US for the last couple of weeks. I have written more extensively on the plight of the Meskhetian Turks elsewhere on this blog. But, prehaps a brief summary is in order here. The Meskhetian Turks are the native population of Meskheti-Javakheti in Georgia, a territory acquired by the Russian Empire from the Ottoman Empire in 1828-1829. On 15-28 November 1944, the Stalin regime forcibly dispersed the entire population of more than 90,000 people across Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Here the Soviet government placed them under special settlement restrictions. They could not leave their assigned settlements without special NKVD permits, they carried special ID cards marking them as legally inferior citizens, they had no choice in their work assignments, they had to regularly register with NKVD commandants and a set of separate and unequal laws administered by the NKVD ruled their lives. The Meskhetian Turk special settlers suffered extreme material privation during the first years of exile. Lack of sufficient food, proper shelter, clothing, shoes and medical care took a heavy toll of lives. Malnutrition, typhus and other poverty related ailments killed over a fifth of the population in less than five years. The Soviet government released them from the special settlement restrictions on 28th April 1956. Neither the Soviet or subsequent Georgian government ever allowed the Meskhetian Turks to return their homeland in significant numbers.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Meskhetian Turks had a fairly well organized national mass movement that engaged in a peaceful campaign for repatriation to Georgia. It conducted a lobbying effort using letters, petitions, meetings, peaceful demonstrations and moral appeals in an attempt to convince the Soviet government to allow them to return home. In the early 1970s, the failure of the repatriation movement led to demands to be allowed to emigrate from the USSR and settle in the Turkish Republic. This movement also failed to achieve any concrete results.

In 1989, a pogrom in the Ferghana valley resulted in a second relocation for many Meskhetian Turks. Nearly 90,000 Meskhetian Turks left Uzbekistan soon after this event. About 15,000 ended up in Krasnodar Krai, a territory with a little over five million people, mostly Russians. The local government here refused to grant permanent residency to a majority of the Meskhetian Turks and the rights to hold most jobs, attend higher education and own property that goes with such legal documentation. Their lack of legal protection exposed them to Cossack intimidation and police harassment. Officially stateless the displaced Meskhetian Turks did not qualify for refugee status according to the United Nations because they never crossed an international border. They remained in a legal limbo unable to return to Georgia, immigrate to Turkey or even go back to Uzbekistan.

At the behest of some creative people, most notably Mark Hetfield, the State Department came up with a plan to resettle Meskhetian Turks from Krasnodar Krai in the US. This solution aimed to end the ongoing persecution of the Meskhetian Turks in the region. It of course does nothing to address the larger long term problem of the hundreds of thousands of Meskhetian Turks living in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and other areas outside their historic homeland. But, it did show a way out of the box created by the arbitrary definitions of citizenship, nationality and refugee status created by the ex-Soviet states, the UN and Meskhetian Turk activists themselves. None of these actors had ever considered the option of settlement outside of the former Soviet states or Turkish Republic. I will have more to write on the issues of citizenship, nationality and refugees and the example of the Meskhetian Turks in later posts.

Today in Arivaca: Breakfast and Power Point

Today my uncle and I had breakfast at the cafe. It was quite good. For $4.99 each we got four pieces of French toast, two sausages, two pieces of bacon and two eggs. They also came with the orange slices and grapes that seem to accompany all Arizona breakfasts. Then we went to the post office, dump and farmers market. We got some more prickly pear glaze and prickly pear and apple jelly at the market. They were cleaning the cemetary up across from the market so there were alot of people out and about.

I also figured out how to write power point presentations. I made one out for my paper on special settler labor and cotton cultivation in Central Asia in about a half an hour and e-mailed it to London. It was nine pages of bullet points, nothing fancy. They are now going to translate it into Russian so my talk will be accompanied by power point slides both in English and Russian. I also now know why some people like power point presentations. They are very easy and fast to write up.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Cotton conference

The cotton conference is now exactly nine days away. I still don't have the other papers, but I got an e-mail from the organizer today. He wants me to put my paper into a power point presentation. I have never used power point. I do not know how to use it. I am going to have to call my father for technical advice. Before I gave my presentation on Meskhetian Turks at SOAS I asked my supervisor if I should have any visual aids. He said to use photocopied handouts. Evidently, the Near and Middle East Section of the History Department at SOAS trys to avoid any technology that did not exist in Europe during the life of the Prophet Mohammed. At least that way when it comes to presentations there is far less chance for it to screw up. In Tartu there were several significant technical problems regarding power point at the conference on border changes. If it happens in Estonia, the most wired country in the world, then I think it is really asking for trouble to try it in London. Although I will note that one of my friends in the South Asian Section of the History Department did an excellent slide presentation. Their level of technical expertise is so far above the Near and Middle East Section that I expected them to add laser lights, smoke bombs and fireworks.

Deported Peoples of the USSR

I was surprised by the interest in this subject shown by my recent poll of my dozen readers. At anyrate while I have posted alot on various deported nationalities here. I still have not covered them all. I have written on the Russian-Germans, Russian-Koreans, Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Balkars, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks. I have still not written anything on the Soviet Kurds, Russian-Greeks or Russian-Finns. Nor have I written much on deportations from the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland and Moldova. I probably will not post another big post like the one below on the Balkars until after I get back from London. But, I am thinking the next one will probably be on the Kurds or Greeks. People can vote below in the comments if they want. Otherwise it will be which ever group I feel most like writing about at the time.

Some Toads didn't get the message

There are evidently still some toads hanging around. I saw the first straggler the other night over by the grill. He was a medium sized guy and attempted to hid from me in the light by remaining perfectly still. Tonight I saw one big toad and several small toads crawling in the grass behind the gazeebo. The big guy evidently came out of the drainage pipe. I guess some of the toads have yet to go into hibernation.

Phone Call

I almost did not answer the phone this morning. I figured it was a sales person. But, the phone kept ringing so I decided to answer it in case it was for my uncle. I was very surprised when the man on the other end asked for Dr. Pohl. I almost never get phone calls. In fact most of the more than two years I lived in London I had no phone. At anyrate the caller was from the search committee of one of the jobs I applied for recently. He just wanted to make sure I got my recommendation letters and transcripts sent to them. He also asked me some basic questions. I take this as a very good omen. No search committee has ever called me before. Out of almost a hundred applications this was the first person to take the time to phone me. Even if I don't get an interview I know at least this particular search committee actually read my application with some interest. I suspect the vast majority have not. By calling me, the search committee made me feel at least like I was a human being rather than a number to be dismissed in favor of the person chosen for the job before it was advertised. I wish more search committees had such good manners.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Otto's Chicken Shack

My uncle got my chicken shack sign made and put up. Now on the post above the grill are two slabs of wood that read, "Otto's Chicken Shack." We took some pictures. I hope I can get at least one posted here. He also managed to increase the pressure on the propane grill so our flames are more than one milimeter high. The improved propane flow has led to higher flames and faster cooking. It has not changed the great taste of Arivaca Man's spicy chicken wings.

New Person on Blogroll

I am adding a new person to my blog roll. She is a Ph.D. student somewhere out on the East Coast. At anyrate I came across her blog today and read it with great interest. Given that much of US academia seems ideologically frozen in 1948, cheering on the great socialist triumphs of the USSR and Israel against reactionary Muslims, I found her posts on Palestine very refreshing. Someday I will write a post on why Palestine is a conservative cause. But, right now you can go to Red Academics to see the emergence of some critical thinking on the issue in the US academy. When I was an undergraduate in the US it was impossible to criticize Israel. The same leftists who condemned South Africa, Chile and the Contras also militantly defended all of Israel's actions, no matter how reprehensible. These people were really nasty and it was far easier to just ignore the unjust plight of the Palestinian people than tangle with them.

Flying the Stars and Bars in AZ

My uncle is decorating the place with some new flags. There is a big flag pole in front of the house flying the US flag. In the living room is the 48 star version of the US flag on account of Arizona being the 48th state admitted to the Union. Today via UPS he got the Stars and Bars. During the Civil War, Arizona was a Confederate territory and the Anglo population was heavily Southern in its political sympathies. On 23 March 1861, a meeting in Tucson by prominent citizens followed the example of Mesilla and declared their support of the Confederacy. On 1 August 1861, Lt. Col. John Baylor from Texas took Mesilla and set about to make Arizona a Confederate territory. Confederate President Jefferson Davis declared Arizona a territory on 14 February 1862. Baylor became the Confederate governor of the the "Territory of Arizona." Davis removed Baylor from office later that year for his mistreatment of the Native peoples of the territory. On 28 February 1862, Captain Sherod Hunter raised the Confederate flag over Tucson. On 24 May 1862, General Carleton captured Tucson for the Union and placed Arizona under martial law. The new government promptly embarked on a war of extermination against the Apache and Navajo peoples. Lincoln finally got around to recognizing Arizona as a separate territory from New Mexico on 24 February 1863. So if anybody wants to know why people in Arizona would fly the Stars and Bars, they should know that we were in fact a Confederate Territory before we were a Union Territory. I know that the politically correct intellectual elite of this country demands denunciation of all things Confederate. But, I would just like to note that it was the Union not the Confederacy that ethnically cleansed the Navajos and Apaches. You got to love those Yankee do gooders, real humanitarians them boys.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Short History of the Balkars under Soviet Rule

The recent events in Nalchik, the capitol of the Karbardino-Balkar Republic in Russia have inspired me to write a short piece on the Balkars. The Balkars are one of the native peoples of the North Caucasus deported by the Stalin regime during World War II. Officially, the Soviet government accused the Balkars of collaborating with Nazi Germany and engaging in mass treason against the USSR. The real reasons for the deportation of the Balkars had to do with their resistance to Soviet policies, historical and cultural ties to Turkey and the proximity of their mountain homeland to a major military highway. In preparation for a post-war conflict with the Turkish Republic, the Stalin regime removed all ethnically related nationalities from strategic areas that would be involved in any military actions against Anatolia. These nationalities included the Karachais, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks as well as the Balkars. The Stalin regime deported all of these people to Kazakhstan and Central Asia from 2 November 1943 to 28 November 1944. In total the NKVD banished nearly 400,000 Turkic Muslims to special settlement restrictions in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan during this year. This crime against humanity has received little attention in the US primarily because the victims belong to "politically incorrect" ethnicities and religions. In contrast the perpetrators officially espoused an ideology still given favorable treatment by much of the US intellectual elite.

The Balkars are closely related to the neighboring Karachais. Both speak a language related to Turkish. Their language derives from their Kipchak Turkish ancestors who settled in the Caucasus and intermarried with other peoples. The Balkars nominally adhere to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam as a result of later Ottoman influence. Traditionally they have supported themselves through animal husbandry.

The Soviet government formed the Karbardino-Balkar Autonomous Oblast on 1 September 1921 and upgraded it to an ASSR on 5 December 1936. Balkars only made up a small percentage of this territory's population. In 1939, they constituted 11.1% of the inhabitants versus 43% for Russians and 36.3% for Karbardians. Their ethnic ties to Turkey made them disfavored among the Soviet elite. In particular the large number of prominent Georgians in the Stalin regime such as Beria and his associates had a strong hostility to all things related to Turkey.

The German military entered the Karbardino-Balkar ASSR on 7 August 1942. It captured Nalchik on 29 October 1942. The Soviet military recaptured the city on 4 January 1943. A week later the Germans had completely withdrawn from the territory. A little over a year later, on 26 February 1944, Beria ordered the deportation of the Balkars from their homeland to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. A total of 4,000 NKVD and NKGB operative workers and 17,000 NKVD internal troops forcibly rounded up and loaded over 37,000 Balkars onto train echelons bound eastward on 8-9 March 1944. The Stalin regime transferred much of the land previously inhabited by the Balkars to the Georgian SSR and renamed the Karbardino-Balkar ASSR, the Karbardian ASSR.

Like other deported peoples subjected to special settlement restrictions, the Balkars suffered horribly in exile. The Stalin regime had confiscated most of their property and abandoned them in confined regions of an alien land without sufficient resources to sustain themselves. Malnutrition, exposure and typhus took a heavy toll upon the population in exile. More than 8,000 Balkars died in less than five years as a direct result of the deportations. This excess mortality constituted a fifth of the total population. Not until the 1960s did they manage to replace the population losses incurred as a result of the deportations and exile.

The Soviet government released the Balkars from the special settlement restrictions after Stalin's death. It freed the last Balkars from this status on 28 April 1956. In early 1957, a series of Soviet decrees restored national territories for the Karachais, Kalmyks, Chechens, Ingush and Balkars and allowed them to return to their historic homelands. The Balkars quickly took advantage of these reforms to leave Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and resettle in the reestablished Karbardino-Balkar ASSR. By 1959, over 80% of the total Balkar population again lived in their historic homeland. In 1958 and 1959, the territory reopened 20 Balkar language schools and enrolled over 2,500 students. This move represented the first step by the Balkars in a long and still unfinished process of recovering from the massive damage inflicted upon their cultural development by the deportations.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

More Bias in Academia

I got another shipment of job openings for the position of history instructor today. The regional bias of what is studied is extremely narrow. The end of the Cold War has just about ended all new hiring in the history of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. We are left with a field disproportionately populated by Stalinist hacks like Mark Tauger. His expressed opinions on the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 are no different than David Irving's or David Dukes' on the Holocaust. Yet the taxpayers of West Virginia pay him to teach Soviet history. If I was serious about exposing idiot leftist bias in the academy I would be gunning for Tauger's dismissal.

Despite the very central role of Kazakhstan, Central Asia and the Caucasus in current US strategic thinking there were no jobs specifically mentioning any of these areas. There are some positions on the Middle East, but alot of these make it clear that they really mean Arab world, not the Greater Middle East of the Arab, Turkic and Iranian worlds. Sometimes the approach to the Middle East used by American academics is so restricted that I get the feeling that it only covers the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Then there is the wierd position of "World History." Actually it is not a specific job description at all, but a painful reminder of the institutional biases in the US academy with regards to teaching the history of the vast majority of mankind that lives outside the US and Europe. Many colleges and universities in the US apparently only have one token lecturer to teach the history of either Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Latin America. They think this is an adequate gesture towards "diversity". Because all those dark skinned former colonial peoples are obviously interchangable. At least the old style racism of the "right" was honest. The condescending and dishonest racism of the left is far worse in my opinion because it trys to pass itself off as something else.

More on Media Coverage of Meskhetian Turks and Feelings

Today I was contacted by a woman in upstate New York working on a story about Meskhetian Turks for NPR. This is the second person who has contacted me about the group as a result of the presentation I gave at the Middle East Institute in DC. Neither of these people saw the actual presentation, but rather found the abstract of the speech on the web and e-mailed me. At anyrate I had a brief telephone conversation with a journalist who was very grateful that she had finally found somebody who knew something about the nationality. Evidently, the person she contacted at the State Department was rather clueless. Since Kristin is always asking me to write about my feelings I thought I would write about how this makes me feel. It makes me feel good. For the rest of the day I will go around feeling like a big and important scholar. Right now, Dr. Pohl loves the media, liberal and otherwise.

Monday, October 17, 2005


The ranch is hopping with big fat grasshoppers. There are thousands of them. The funniest looking ones are kind of an orange with blue heads and about four inches long. They jump up in the air and spin like helicoptors. Then they land on their heads, their backs, sides, butts, etc. They jump down cliffs, into trees and other obstacles. Some of them are too fat to jump very far. Others appear to have had some of their legs eaten off by predators who only wanted a snack. All in all they are quite entertaining to watch. I am thinking of taking a bunch of them over to Costa del Sol (the Papago casino) and introducing grasshopper races.

This Week

This week will probably be devoted primarily to taking care of things before I go to London. I got the encyclopedia articles out of the way. So I have no more written pieces that need to be finished before I leave the country. I have a few job applications to fill out. I will start working on those later today. I hope to get at least one done today.

I still have not received the cotton conference papers. I guess they expect us to read them all on the plane. That is if they get sent to me early enough to print out. My computer is only letting me online now between the hours of 1 am and 5 am. When I get back from London I will be permanently sorting out this problem.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

More Arivaca Fashion

Today's trip into Arivaca was pretty uneventful. We went to the coffee shop first. Then we went to the farmer's market. The woman who sells prickly pear jelly was not there. So we left empty handed. We then went to the Arivaca Dollar Market for the first time. Almost everything is a dollar. Some stuff is $1.20 or $1.25. I got a Chinese knockoff of a Swiss Army Knife for a dollar and it gives new meaning to the word shoddy. But, I shouldn't expect too much for a dollar. The one commodity that cost more than a dollar at the store are tie dye shirts. They cost eight dollars. Of course I have been planning on acquiring the traditional folk costume of Arivaca Man for some time. So yes, I purchased one and now have the full Arivaca uniform.

I am still having serious connectivity problems. So updates may be sporadic. I was supposed to receive the papers from the other participants of the upcomming cotton conference by e-mail today. I hate it when academics are late. The same professors who penalize undergraduates for late work are far worse themselves when it comes to meeting deadlines. I personally think any professor who misses a deadline should be fired. Earlier in my life I would have advocated execution, but I have grown considerably more tolerant recently.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Future posts

Provided my modem does not completely melt down in the next couple of days I hope to put up the following posts in the next week.

A short history of the Balkars
My thoughts on the upcomming conference on cotton in Central Asia
A rundown of the weekend's activities in Arivaca


I got confirmation from the encyclopedia editor that he has received all five articles in good order. I am very glad that particular project is finished. I was under the legal obligation of a signed contract to deliver all five articles by the 15th of October. I made my deadline with one day to spare. That is actually just way too close to the wire. I need to start getting things in earlier. That way I won't stress out about obstacles like uncooperative internet connections as much.

I am going to have a much less stressful weekend. Other than prehaps completing one more job application which is due the 11th of November, I do not intend to do any more writing until Monday. In the meantime I am going to do some reading on the Hopi and the Apaches. I got a book on each of them the last time I went to the library.

Encyclopedia articles

Well today I had no trouble connecting to the internet. I did, however, have trouble connecting the attachment of the last encyclopedia article to an e-mail to the editor. I spent all day writing the last article so I would have a couple days to spare should I encounter more computer problems. Just as I predicted I did, although it was a different and lesser problem than I feared. It took me over an hour to submit a simple attachment. I also received an e-mail today from the encyclopedia editor saying he had received the article I sent this morining on Beria and now had two of the five. No, he had been sent four of the five and confirmed receiving three of the five. I have no idea which of the confirmed articles he lost so I sent all four articles to him. Finally, after much freaking out I got them to attach and submit. I hope he receives them all in good order. It would be nice to think I am done with that particular project for the time being.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

200th Post and Poll Results

Thanks to everybody who took my poll down below. If you have not taken it go and do it now. The results are in just in time for my 200th post and review of this blog's direction. I do not think it will change much. It will continue to be a mix of my historical interests, life in Arivaca and the challenge of doing scholarly work at the most extreme margins of the academic world. I was surprised by how many responses I got. About twice as many people took the poll as I expected. I am also very glad that at least a few people share my historical interests.

Quick Update

In case worse comes to worst and I get cut off from the internet for an extended period of time here is a short update of important events in Arivaca. I got the Beria article sent off. Now, I hope I can get the last encyclopedia article off after I write it. I hate being at the mercy of technology.

I mispoke earlier about perfecting the spicy chicken sauce. It keeps getting better everyday. Yesterday, I used a different Louisana hot sauce that was a bit hotter and it turned out better. Last night's experiment invovled chicken breasts. Tonight I used the same sauce on wings and I am going to have a hard time making further improvements.

My uncle has put up a series of important signs around the laundry room. Including the very important, "No Toads Allowed", warning. You can smoke and you can spit here, but we don't hanker to amphibians. The cold nights, however, seem to have driven all of the toads away.

I think I am all set for my trip to London to deliver my paper on the use of special settler labor (labour over there) in the cultivation of cotton in Central Asia during the 1940s. I should get the papers from the other conference participants on the 15th assuming I can get online. I think mine might be the only historical paper.

If this place is not updated you know why

Yesterday, I had major connectivity problems. This morning everything seems fine. But, I am worried that my modem was acting up. If this spot is not updated for days or even weeks on end it will be because I could not get online. I am going to try and get my encyclopedia articles sent before that happens. Otherwise I will have to do it from the Arivaca library.

Another Royalty Statement

I got a royalty statement for the year's sales of my second book, Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949 today. It is doing slightly better than my first book which sold one copy in the last six months covered by the latest royalty statement. My second book has sold six copies in the US and Canada and three abroad in the last year. Foreign sales generate very little money. The three foreign copies earned me $5.28 versus the $33.77 for six domestic sales. The statement shows that the publisher owes me $39.05. However, since they only write checks for amounts of $75.00 and more I will see no actual money from them this year. Maybe next year I will sell another nine books and reach past the $75.00 threshold. I would encourage people to buy my book, but it is cheaper and faster for everybody to just send me the money directly.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Stupid Birds

I am taking a break from writing my encyclopedia article on Beria. I did not get started on it until today. I will probably finish it today since it is short. I have about half of it written as of now. Then I can write the final article all of which are due the 15th by e-mail.

At anyrate every so often birds will hurl themselves at my office windows and bounce off. I am on the second floor and the windows are not very clean. I guess the stupid birds do not expect there to be a building in the middle of nowhere. They make a loud thud when they hit the glass and then fall from my view. It has got to hurt.

Poll of my small readership

If you are a regular reader or even occasional reader of this blog I am curious what type of posts you enjoy reading the most. Do you come for the tales of Arivaca Man? Are you one of the few people actually interested in deported nationalities in the former USSR? Does my so far futile quest to get a lowly academic instructorship provide you with a sense of Schadenfreude? Or is it some completely different reason? Prehaps the very witty remarks of my regular commentors attracts you to this blog? Let me know what you like best.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Arivaca Man Cuisine: Tasty and Healthy

I have now perfected the spicy chicken sauce. Granted I pinched the idea off the label of one of the two bottles I mix to make it. But, still it is good stuff. Brilliant in its simplicity. It can be used on either grilled wings or grilled breasts. Mix Lousiana hot sauce with Italian salad dressing. I ususally use Trappey's Red Devil Cayenne Pepper Sauce which is where I stole the idea from and Wishbone dressing. The portions should be about half and half with a little more hot sauce than dressing. Then marinate the chicken in this sauce for a couple of hours, place on propane grill for about 45 minutes and you have authentic Arivaca style chicken. We have been using about half a bottle of the Red Devil a night.

Not nearly so brilliant a culinary discovery, but good nonetheless, is my latest use of prickly pear. Yoghurt and prickly pear glaze go really well together. Right now I have been putting prickly pear and plum glaze in vanilla yoghurt for breakfest.

Meskhetian Turks in the news

I have written some on the plight of the Meskhetian Turks here before. Of all the nationalities to suffer total deportation under Stalin they remain the furthest from repatriation. Most of the Russian-Germans have settled in Germany and almost half of the Crimean Tatars have returned to Crimea from Uzbekistan. Neither settlement in Turkey or return to Meskheti-Javakheti have been options for the vast majority of Meskhetian Turks now dispersed across Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Apparently, the Georgian government is now at long last moving in the direction of negotiations regarding the repatriation of the Meskhetian Turks. Georgian State Minister for Conflict Resolution Issues Giorgi Khaindrava is currently on a tour of the CIS to discuss issues relating to repatriation of the Meskhetian Turks. You can find more information at this site here. Thanks to Ara Sanjian for bringing this to my attention.

The story on Khaindrava inspired me to look for more news coverage of the Meskhetian Turks. In US domestic news there have been at least three stories in the last three days on the settlement of Meskhetian Turks in the US from Krasnodar Krai. These newspaper articles have appeared in the Scranton Times-Tribune, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, and The Laconia Citizen in New Hampshire. All of these articles can be found online, but the very long urls are beyond my technical ability to paste here as links.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Plans for the week

This week I have to finish the last two encyclopedia articles which are due the 15th. I am going to try and get the shorter 500 word one done today. Then I can get the longer 1000 word one done in the next couple of days. Other than that I have a few more job applications to send out and some brush to clear off the land this week. Next week I should be getting the papers for the conference in London and can start reading them.

Quotation of the Day

The following quotation is from a memoir piece by Anna Kroeker. She was a Mennonite living in Kyrgyzstan when World War II broke out. The Stalin regime mobilized her into the labor army. Like many other Russian-German women conscripted into these forced labor brigades she was forced to abandon her children. When her sister died due to the poor material conditions imposed upon Russian-Germans by Stalin during the 1940s there was nobody left to care for Anna's son and daughter. The mass induction of adult Russian-Germans into the labor army led to the separation of hundreds of thousands of families. Thousands of Russian-German children with nobody to care for them suffered horribly in Kazakhstan, Central Asia and Siberia. Anna Kroeker's description of finding her children after her release from the labor army is found in John P. Toews, Journeys: Mennonite Stories of Faith and Survival in Stalin's Russia (Winnipeg, MAN: Kindred Productions, 1998), p. 43.

When I returned home after being away for four years, I had found my children living in bitter poverty. We didn't have any beds to speak of. An old pelt was placed on the ground for Lilie and Alfred. The stove had been built in such a way that no one could sit or sleep on any portion of it. There were no dishes - the children had found tin cans in the hospital's rubbish heap. Since the death of my sister, no one had cared for my mother and the children. As a result, Alfred starved. People would often ask, "Is Anna's little Alfred still alive?"

I think it is now fall

The weather has finally gotten cool during the day and cold at night. I have also seen no toads for a couple of days. I think they have all gone into hibernation.

Orientalist Art

My office is really spartan. But, today I hung up a small picture. The book I got on European explorers in Arabia has a lot of good reproductions of fascinating Orientalist paintings. In particular it has a lot by David Roberts. One of which I especially like. I photocopied it and hung it on my office wall above my computer desk. It is called the "The Letter Writer." It shows a bearded man clad in a red robe and green turban writing something. Sitting to his side is a woman wearing a veil. Behind the man is a very cool looking narghile. According to the picture's caption illiterate people would come to the letter writer both to dictate letters and have letters read to them. For some reason I feel an affinity with the letter writer.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More Adventures of Arivaca Man

My last attempt to detail yesterday's outing got sidetracked into a diatribe against affirmative action. This one won't or at least not too badly. It will instead detail how we got lost in the middle of nowhere and still made it back to eat at the Grub Stake.

After leaving the post office we went to the dump. Officially it is not a dump, but rather a "Waste Disposal Site." However, one should never let official terminology get in the way of the truth. For instance, officially Arivaca Man is White non-Hispanic, but in reality he is Tan and thinks the native language of his ancestors should play no role in his future employment. At anyrate, after the dump we went to the general store. After that things went awry.

My uncle said he had never been down the road going towards the lake and suggested we drive down it. We drove down the road and missed the turn to the lake. Miles later we were in Coronado National Park. It is a pretty area and totally devoid of human inhabitants. It was not someplace we wanted to get stuck in at night driving on its bumpy dirt roads. So after 45 minutes of driving away from town looking for the road to come out somewhere I suggested to my uncle that it would be better to turn around and drive back out. So he turned around and we drove another 45 minutes back into town.

We then did get to the Grub Stake. Their advert in "Connection" said they had Chinese food on Saturdays. My uncle thinks the idea of Chinese food in Arivaca is "mystical." However, their menu had no Chinese dishes on it. Instead it had Mexican and American food as one would expect. We both had the Mexican combination platter which was delicious. It was even better with the green habanero sauce contained in the little bottle on the table. Mexican food is one of the things I really missed while living in England. The British just can not make a decent taco. BTW in England, Arivaca Man is officially White, non-British, non-Irish and so are Mexicans.

Estonian White Book now in English

A big thanks to Kristin for finding this on the internet. The English translation of the The White Book: Losses Inflicted on the Estonian Nation by Occupation Regimes, 1940-1991 by the Estonian State Commission on Examination of the Policies of Repression is now available. You can find the White Book here. It is an amazing piece of work.

Trip into Arivaca/Affirmative Action rant

Yesterday we went into town later than usual. We wanted to try dinner at the Grub Stake which just started serving food recently. I also had some library books due. First, we stopped at the library and I returned the three books and one CD I had checked out three weeks ago. I had checked out a book on the history of the Navajo, a book on the history of the US-Mexican border, a Tony Hillerman mystery and the Roughguide to Greek music CD. I played a lot of Greek music in the last three weeks. Yesterday, I checked out four new books and a CD. I got a book on European explorations of Arabia, one on the Hopi, one on the various Indian wars of the South West and another Tony Hillerman mystery. The CD is by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra. Estonia is world famous for its music. Last time I was there in Februrary I saw a military concert in Tartu to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty. I had a personalized invitation from an admiral. Later in Tallinn I saw a small jazz concert. I actually liked the jazz concert better. At anyrate I find it amazing that a rural area of only around 800 people has a library that is open on Saturdays and actually has books and CDs worth checking out.

After the library we headed to the post office. To my surprise I had mail. Last week I sent out my first job application with my new cover letter to a university in the mid-west. Yesterday I had a letter back from them. Granted it is only the stupid affirmative action form, but it is signed by the chairman of the history department. I hate filling out affirmative action forms. I find them to be the worst sort of politically correct racism. It asks for my Racial/Ethnic background and then gives me a set of very arbitrary choices. First, the cultural heritage of my ancestors is information totally unrelated to my qualifications to teach history. The only reason one would collect such information is to use it to discriminate against some group of people on the basis of being biologically descended from certain arbitrarily defined cultural groups. Second, they do not even bother to have a group that fits me. They have a catagory of White, non-Hispanic which is just dumb. What do Germans, Finns, Arabs, Turks, Persians, Berbers, Jews, Ukrainians, Kurds, Italians, Hungarians, Portuguese and the other myriad groups subsumed in this catagory have in common with each other? Could they at least have European? I know you have to seperate Spain out for some stupid reason, but maybe call it "Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals plus Portugal?" Maybe divide Europe into cultural groupings like Germanic or Teutonic, Latin (except for Spain which is Hispanic according to the US government not White or European), Uralic, Slavic, Baltic and Celtic? But, classifying these diverse cultures as White on the basis of having less pigmentation than sub-Saharan Africans is insulting. I used to be White, but pigmentation has nothing to do with ethnicity.

My great grandfather like many Germans from Russia went to Canada. However, many went to Spanish speaking countries such as Argentina, Paraguay and Mexico. Many also went to Brazil, but since it speaks Portuguese its people are not Hispanic. I guess they are considered either White, non-Hispanic or Black, non-Hispanic depending on if they have any African ancestory. Now if my grandfather had been born in Argentina like many other people of Russian-German descent rather than Canada I would be Hispanic. My racial/ethnic background would not be any different in reality, but legally I would be in a catagory that receives official preference instead of one that is defacto discriminated against. Of course it is all completely a waste of resources in this case. The number of people who are in a catagory other than White, non-Hispanic applying for the jobs in my field is extremely miniscule. I strongly suspect it may be zero for this particular job.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Biblical Plagues

Since I have moved here we have had floods, toads and now locusts. They are big and all over the place, but don't seem to be too bothersome. However, I am worried that we are moving through the Biblical plagues visited upon Egypt. If I wake up covered in boils I think it will be time to really worry. Both my uncle and I are first born.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Prickly Pear

Prickly pear has become my new favourite flavour. I like it in jelly with apple on toast. I like it as a syrup on pancakes. I like it as a glaze mixed with hot sauce and cooked on grilled chicken. I like it in iced tea and lemonade. Prickly pear seems to go good with everything.

Arivaca Sourdough Bakery

Yesterday, my uncle and I stopped by the bakery. This small building is well worth visiting if you are ever in the Gadsen Purchase area. Their lemon bars, brownies and sourdough bread are all really good. The bread is especially good toasted and served with butter and prickly pear jelly.

Like most things in Arivaca it has its own unique character. In this case the numerous handicrafts from countries as far away as Indonesia for sale in front of the shop. Normally one does not expect to see a significant selection of wood carvings from South East Asia in rural bakeries in South East Arizona. But, then again Arivaca is home to an eclectic bunch of people. Many of them with specialized interests and knowledge extending far beyond the boundries of the US.

Quotation of the Day

The following quotation is from an NKVD report of 15 July 1946 on the conditions of Kalmyk special settlers in Novosibirsk Oblast. It is reproduced in N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin - Lavrentiiu Berii. "Ikh nado deportirovat'," Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992), doc. 14, p. 93. The translation from Russian to English is my own.

Kalmyks have arrived in Novosibirsk obl. since December 1943. The main mass arrived in January 1944. Were received 16,379 people. On the way died 193 people. Hospitalized 224 people, of these died 39 people. (typhus)...30% of those capable of labor do not work due to an absence of shoes. It has been noted that they are completely unadapted to the severe climate, unaccustomed to the conditions and do not know the language. This has created additional difficulties. There has been an increase in deaths.

In 1944 of these exiles died 1510 people. A significant portion of these special settlers live in absolutely unfit living conditions: huts, barns and such. They do not have individual gardens. Many local party and economic organs have not employed themselves in arranging labor for the Kalmyks, considering it a matter for the NKVD.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Things I have never had

Driver's License
Mobile Phone
Any books by French "theory" weenies
Che Guevara T-shirt (Note to the "cool-hip" people who do have these shirts. If you are going to wear a shirt with a communist on it at least pick one who accomplished some of his goals like Stalin or Pol Pot. Che was such an idiot that he lost to the Bolivian army.)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Red Russians in Queensland: The First Immigrant Wave

This is the first entry in what I hope to be a multi-part history of the Russian diaspora in Queensland, Australia. During the course of the last century several different waves of Russian immigrants arrived in Brisbane. They became both in terms of numbers and political importance one of the most significant ethnic groups in the city in the first two decades of the twentieth century. In particular they played a key role in radical socialist politics in the city during this time.

In the wake of the failed 1905 Revolution, the Tsarist regime exiled numerous Social Democrats, Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents to Siberia. Thousands of these internal exiles,however, managed to escape to Manchuria and then make their way to Queensland on Japanese ships by 1915. After 1915, the First World War cut off this first wave of Russian immigrants to Australia.

This first wave of Russian immigrants had strong socialist tendencies. Fydor (Artem) Sergeyev, a personal friend of Lenin, became the most important political organizer among the Russian immigrants in Brisbane. After February 1917, he returned to Russia and joined the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks. In Queensland he established the Union of Russian Workers which had its own library of over 1,000 books and a number of club rooms. In 1912, he founded Australia's first Russian language newspaper. The Russian community in Brisbane centered around Russell, Cordelia, Vulture, Stanley and Merivale streets. Their largest community center, Russian Hall, was located on this last street. Smaller Russian clubs existed on Stanley Street. The organized Russian community in Brisbane strongly identified with the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 and Russia's new socialist government. This political support provoked a strong backlash from the Australian government.

In the years following the Bolshevik Revolution, Brisbane's Russian community came under increasing political pressure and police harassment. In January 1919, Military Intelligence shut down the clubs on Stanley Street. The pro-Bolshevik organizations in Queensland's Russian commuity became targets of loyalist organizations. This culminated in an angry mob of nearly 8,000 people from such organizations as the United Loyalist Executive and the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League assaulting Russian Hall on 24 March 1919. In the aftermath of the destruction of Russian Hall, the Australian government engaged in a general supression of suspected Bolshevik activities. They imprisoned fifteen men for displaying the Red Flag and deported another eleven Russian activists without trial. Other members of the Russian community found themselves evicted from their apartments or dismissed from their jobs for their political activities. The organized Bolshevik character of the Russian community in Queensland came to an end in 1919.

The next wave of Russian immigrants to Brisbane began arriving at the same time as the government moved against the older Russian community of Queensland. These immigrants were also refugees, Whites fleeing from Bolshevik rule. Their political orientation was almost the exact opposite of the earlier Russian settlers.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Life around Arivaca

This weekend my uncle as usual went into town. On Saturday we went to the post office, the coffee shop, the dump, the farmers market and the general store. Like in most traditional communities the market is a source not only of goods, but more importantly information. Sometimes the best things in life really are free.

At the coffee shop I picked up the town's monthly paper, "Connection." It is also free. Mary Kasulaitis, our librarian has a really interesting article on the woman who built Arivaca's mainstreet in the 1890s, Teresa Celaya, an alleged prostitute from Sonora. The ruined adobe building next to La Gitana Cantina used to be her saloon. She also owned the building where the hardware store is now. She died at age 102 in 1937.

At the farmers market we purchased some more prickly pear glaze and jelly. We also saw a bunch of college aged girls involved with "No More Deaths." Best, I can tell they are Yankee "do gooders" making it easier for illegal aliens to cross over the Sonora Desert by providing them with free supplies. You can always spot people who are not from Arivaca by the way they dress and the color of their skin. You almost go, "look, white people." Believe it or not my uncle and I used to be white. No really, we were. At anyrate these visitors seemed to have some incorrect ideas about the people and town of Arivaca. One of them wrote an unflattering blog entry here about us. I left a comment on her blog attempting to dispel some of her anti-rural prejudices. Arivaca in particular is a unique community that really defies stereotypes. I encourage other people with knowledge of our community to also go and comment on her blog. I also request that all such comments be civil and aimed at educating rather than insulting. I am going to have more to say on the falsity of the stereotype of rural=ignorant and unsophisticated later on this week.

At the market Kyle Young, who has an incredible store of knowledge on local edible plants, informed us that the gourds growing on our property were "totally inedible." That leaves us with mesquite beans and prickly pear. My uncle got us a bucket to store the mesquite pods until we mill them at the festival on the 30th. Now, I just need to motivate myself to go out there and pick pods.

On Sunday we went to a pancake breakfest at the old school house. Prickly pear syrup goes really well with pancakes. The school house was built when Arizona was still a territory. We became the last of the lower 48 states admitted to the Union in 1912. The school shut down in 1953. Now children are bused a considerable distance north to attend classes.

I am going to start having a regular feature on the town based on our weekend excursions. I will introduce you to the town and the people that make it unique. Despite some abandoned buildings, we have a vibrant and living community. Like alot of things in the desert it is just not readily apparent to people just passing through.

Planning my London trip

I got an e-mail from my Ph.D. supervisor today. I have not heard anything from him for most of the summer. The last time was before I left Alexandria to come out to Arivaca. We are going to set up some time to meet during the five days I am back in London. The conference is only two days. I am thinking, the 2nd of November which is the day before the conference would be best for us to meet. It is also the one year anniversary of my oral defense. It is a Wed. this year. Unfortunately, I do not think my supervisor has any more advice for me on finding a job than he and other people have already given me.

But, maybe the cotton people will have a job for me. I am thinking fair trade cotton like they have fair trade coffee. A good slogan would be, "Do not buy clothes from my competitor. He uses cotton picked by child labor in Uzbekistan that pays to prop up the Karimov dictatorship." I think it would work. They need somebody like me to explain the whole sordid history of cotton in Central Asia so they can develop a proper advertising campaign.

Wanted: Toad Shepherd

Today I had to remove three mini-toads from the house. I have been putting the new Arivaca phone book to good use in this cause. I open it up and sweep the toads onto it using a paint brush. I then transport the toads outside. The toads have been showing up in the kitchen, in the living room and even in the shower. I think they sneak in every time I open the kitchen door. There are probably dozens of toads in the house I have not yet discovered and evicted.

Favourite Commentors

This blog does not have alot of regular readers as far as I can tell, maybe a dozen now. It even has fewer regular commentors. But, it does have some. Except for my Dad, I think I have linked to all of them over on the list of links to the left. In alphabetical order the loyal readers that have commented here frequently are listed below.

Dr. Camicao
Chris O'Byrne

This is pretty good considering the slow start this blog had in 2004. It was over half a year before I got my first comment. Then my second commentor was a troll. The above list seems skewed in favor of American men living in the western US, however. This is probably a function of being the official blog of Arivaca Man. Men living in the West need to know the answers to such questions as how to herd toads and grill spicy chicken. But, I think other people can benefit from this advice as well. Therefore, I strongly encourage more European, Asian, Australian, South American and African women to comment here.

According to technorati I am now in the top 100,000 blogs. I have no idea how the rankings are compiled. I keep going up in rank even though the number of blogs increases. Yet, I am quite sure the total number of people who have ever read this blog is less than 1,000. My profile has 608 hits. There must be alot of blogs (over 18.5 million of them) with even fewer readers than mine, ouch!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Quotation of the day

Most of the Crimean Tatar special settlers ended up in Uzbekistan. On 21 May 1944, however, Beria ordered over 30,000 Crimean Tatar deportees on their way to Uzbekistan diverted to the Urals. Crimean Tatar exiles in the Urals and Siberia worked felling trees in "wet forests." The poor material conditions in these forestry camps even alarmed some NKVD officials. The following quotation comes from a 10 October 1944, NKVD report on the "extremely unsatisfactory conditions" of the almost 2,000 Crimean Tatars living in the Kologriv Raion of Kostroma Oblast. The report is reproduced in N.F. Bugai, ed., Iosif Stalin - Lavrentiiu Berii."Ikh nado deportirovat'," Dokumenty, fakty, kommentarii (Moscow: Druzhba narodov, 1992), doc. 26, pp. 147-148. The translation from Russian to English is my own.

In Kologriv Raion preparations for winter barracks move slowly. Due to an absence of glass, window frames cannot be repaired. Clothes and shoes for resettlers have not been supplied. Special settlers work in the forest barefoot.

The supplies of bread to special settlers are interrupted for periods of two to three days at a time. From 16 to 20 August we gave no bread to the Fonfonova section of the Pongov lumber enterprise. Families of special settlers receive food irregularly, the quality of this food is unsatisfactory, the bread given is rationed at 150 grams per person. Wages have not been paid since July this year. Medical service is unsatisfactory. Among the special settlers in the lumber sections of Fofonova, Markov Lug and Shirokie Luga have spread diseases such as dysentery, mange and eczema.

Worldcat listed holdings meme

After receiving my huge $1.58 royalty check for my first book this week I went and checked to see how many libraries had my books. According to Worldcat my first book, The Stalinist Penal System is in only 163 libraries. My second book, Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949 does a little better with 207 listings. According to Worldcat their records list the holdings of over 17,000 libraries. So my publishers did a pretty poor sales job. I then compared it to other academic books and found that none of them did very well. For instance Shirin Akiner's Islamic Peoples of the Soviet Union only has 157 listings. Even really popular academic books like Norman Naimark's Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe still do not make it into even 10% of the libraries of the world including those attached to universities and colleges. Naimark's book is only listed at 1035 libraries. I know alot of academics with books blog under pseudonyms so I can not compare their numbers to mine. Still, I am interested in compiling some numbers. So I guess I am making this into a meme. If you have one or more scholarly books published go to Worldcat and find out how many libraries they are listed at. Then publish the numbers on your blog. You can refer to your books by number so your secret superhero identity remains safe. I think maybe an award should be given to the people with both the highest and lowest numbers.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Dr. Akiner again

The controversy around Dr. Shirin Akiner has heated up. The former British ambassador to Uzbekistan has sent a letter to SOAS asking that she be investigated by the ethics committee. Since she was my supervisor for my MA, I can not really take a neutral stance on this. I find the attacks on Dr. Akiner's character by some people to be wholly unwarranted. At any rate Nathan Hamm at Registan has another detailed discussion of the issues involved. I will note that Nathan himself has been very fair in his coverage of Dr. Akiner.

Nobel Peace Prize Endorsement

One of the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize this year is Rebiya Kadeer. She spent over five years in Chinese prisons from 1999 to 2005 for publicizing the plight of her native Uigher people in East Turkestan under the repressive rule of Beijing. The Uighers are a Muslim people who speak a language related to Turkish and live in the Chinese controlled part of Turkestan east of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. As such they are a "politically incorrect" people frequently slandered as terrorists. The systematic violation of their human rights by the Chinese is thus largely ignored in the US. I hope Kadeer wins the Nobel Peace Prize. We all share a common humanity that deserves respect and dignity, even the Muslim Uighers of East Turkestan.

Royalty Check

I got a royalty check from McFarland & Company, Inc. for the last six months of sales for my first book, The Stalinist Penal System. The check comes to a walloping $1.58 representing 10% of the cover price of one book sold at the discounted price of $15.75. The check has the words "Void after 45 days: Cash Immediately" stamped across the top of it in red ink. I am not cashing the check. No, I am going to frame it as evidence of the current economic state enjoyed by most writers in the US.

Arivaca phone book

The Arivaca phone book came today. It looks like Arivaca has a lot more people than I thought. It looks like a little over 300 people, about double my original estimate. Some people including my uncle are not listed so it is hard to get an exact count. A couple of things surprised me. First, that Arivaca even has its own phone book. But, it has its own newspaper so I should not have been really surprised. Second, there is a Baha'i center along with two Baptist, one Catholic and one non-denominational church. That seems like a lot of religion for only 300 people. I had thought there was just one Baptist and one Catholic church in town. Finally, the number of Spanish names in the phone book is a lot fewer than I thought. Only about 25 out of 300, about a third of what I would have guessed given what I have seen in town. Obviously, a higher proportion of people working in visible jobs in town are of Mexican heritage than the population as a whole. It is a nice little phone book. Maybe next year it will have my uncle listed.